“Don’t panic!” ~ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
During the ISTEK conference in Istanbul, I was doing a partner presentation with Sue Lyon-Jones titled, Teaching with Technology: Plan B! Ironically, our projector didn’t work. We were in a room full of teachers and we couldn’t even show our presentation. We decided to go with my part on offline activities with mobile devices while Sue got a technician. Our session was successful, the teachers walked out with valuable learning. We didn’t allow our technical difficulties to interrupt the learning process. At times, the technology will fail you. Too often I have seen teachers and presenters spend too much time fussing over the technology, and apologizing profusely. At the end of the day, your audience (including your students) came to learn from you. Let them walk away with the learning. Below are a few tips when you face technology hiccups:
- Check the technology prior to the lesson! Not just the day before but at least an hour or 30 minutes before students use it.
- Have a few icebreakers and technology free activities handy.
- Have a teacher survival kit ready.
- Try an unconference or open space session. Willy Cardosa explains an open space session here.
- When troubleshooting the problem, try shutting it down, unplugging it, rebooting, Googling the problem on your mobile device, or asking an audience member/student for help
- Have a designated tech expert handy. Assign students to be experts on a tool and when you teach with it, they can troubleshoot the problem while you carry on with the lesson. Here’s a presentation by Jerry Swiatek on organizing this and also his StudentCon Wiki.
- Have a few backup plans. Here’s Sue Lyon-Jones’ presentation with ideas.
- I have more resources outlined in this presentation, Survival Tips for Teaching with Technology